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Author Topic: leather cord - what do you use to soften it?  (Read 8735 times)


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leather cord - what do you use to soften it?
« on: March 30, 2016, 05:35:44 PM »
I'm trying to make a necklace/pendant hang nicely on 2mm leather cord, but the cord is too stiff, and the pendant, being poly clay, is too light to pull it down sufficiently. Is there something i can use to make the cord more supple? I tried pulling on it and twisting it about a bit but to little effect. There are some creams and things online for shoes but they are for waterproofing as well which is not needed necessarily. . . Thinner cord is probably the answer but that wouldn't be as strong.


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Re: leather cord - what do you use to soften it?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 07:38:22 PM »
I've heard a touch of cod liver oil can do the trick.  Might be a bit stinky though...

What about olive oil?


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Re: leather cord - what do you use to soften it?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 09:05:46 PM »
I don't use leather but l would worry about using any oil on it.

How about weighting it down in the middle with a much heavier weight to reshape it?

I get the same problem sometimes with 2mm cotton cord.


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Re: leather cord - what do you use to soften it?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 08:48:36 PM »
I think adding any oil would just go rancid - so wouldnt advise that.

I'm not sure there is anything you can add to leather to soften it, I imagine the whole process of tanning it, any dyes applied etc are pretty much a stabilising factor.

But you can work it to loosen it up a little - play around with it, roll it up this way and that, add weights to it and swing it around your head for a bit - that sort of thing.

I tend to find the natural colour leather thongs are often a lot softer and more "drapey" than the black or brown leathers

Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Re: leather cord - what do you use to soften it?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 02:41:41 PM »
Thinner leather cord would be the best way ahead - or as others have said, weight the pendant in some way.  If it's really light, it will be a problem I think.  Oiling cord will make it more supple, but I doubt it will affect a leather thong that much.  As Emma says, tanning keeps the leather flexible - and also stops it from rotting (I was a chemist in a tannery in a past life).  Leather will dry out a bit and can crack with time - which is why you can get leather conditioning creams to clean leather and keep it supple, but as I say, leather thongs are usually too thick for them to help.  Getting the thinnest leather cord you can would be best and should still be pretty strong - stronger than a delicate metal chain!  Either that or just go for cord instead.  Or ribbon?  The other problem with oil is it could stain or affect the clay?  Just a thought.
Alan from wet and windy, but deceptively mild Cumbria, UK.